New business owners are often not sure when to consult with a corporate attorney, Here are some common situations in which you should consult with your business attorney:
(1) Incorporation – The first thing you should do as a business owner is incorporate, either as a corporation or an LLC. Doing this will provide you with tax savings and liability protection. Your corporate attorney can advise you on the most advantageous corporate form for your business, prepare your corporate documents, and register your business with the necessary governmental entities.
(2) Annual Maintenance – A common mistake made by business owners is to incorporate without an attorney and fail to maintain corporate formalities on an ongoing basis. If you fail to maintain corporate formalities and are ever sued or audited, your corporate will not protect you from liability, and you may have to pay back some self-employment tax. Our Lake in the Hills corporate attorneys will prepare your annual meeting minutes and file your annual report with the secretary of state to make sure that your corporation is solid.
(3) Employees & Independent Contractors – You should always meet with your business attorney before hiring employees. Your business attorney can advise you on the advantages and disadvantages of structuring the agreement as an independent contractor. Your attorney will also assist you in preparing employee and independent contractor agreements, an employee handbook, and a disciplinary process. Your business attorney will also assist you in registering as an employer with the necessary governmental entities and ensure that you do not run afoul of worker’s compensation law. If you are parting ways with an employee, you should always consult your attorney as soon as possible to make sure you are not liable for unemployment insurance premium hikes or wrongful discharge claims.
(4) Investor Agreements – Have a great idea, but need investors? Our Lake in the Hills business attorneys will help attract investors by preparing a prospectus, stock purchase agreement, and the necessary paperwork to bring the investor into the corporation.
(5) Contracts - Most expensive litigation results from a business owner's failure to sign a written contract with those he or she does business with, or from ambiguities in a written contract that was not reviewed by an attorney. You should have a written contract reviewed by an attorney any time you enter into a business arrangement with anyone, including a commercial lease, vendor agreement, customer contract, or asset purchase agreement. Taking this step will save you money in the long run by avoiding litigation.
(6) Trademark and Copyright Applications – Our Lake in the Hills attorneys have many years of experience in intellectual property law. There is no greater hit to your business than having to change a brand that you worked hard to establish. We can help you file trademark applications for your name and logo, as well as copyright applications for your work product.
(7) Dispute Resolution, Litigation & Collection - Unlike many business attorneys, at O'Flaherty Law we have a team of Lake in the Hills attorneys with experience in litigation and dispute resolution. Should a dispute arise, we can help you find a solution in the most favorable and affordable manner. We can also assist you with collection of your accounts receivable.
(8) Exit Strategies - It is never too early to start thinking about exit strategies. Whether you are planning on transferring your business to a key employee, a family member, or selling your business to a third party buyer, Our Lake in the Hills business attorneys can help you formulate your strategy and get the pieces in place to accomplish it.
(9) Solutions for Distressed Businesses – If your business is going through set backs, we can help you save it by negotiating with creditors, dissolving your corporation and helping you get back on your feet with a new corporate entity, or filing a corporate or personal bankruptcy. Our Lake in the Hills business attorneys will help you get you a fresh new start to make your business successful.
(10) Business Consulting – Our experience does not end with the legal aspects of your business. Our Lake in the Hills business attorneys can connect you with resources, such as accountants, bankers, and financial advisers to accomplish your non-legal business goals. We are happy to give you council in all aspects of your business.
(11) Estate Planning – Make sure that your loved ones receive all that you have worked so hard for when you pass, and that your business assets are not consumed by costly probate, estate tax, or creditors. Our team of Lake in the Hills attorneys is experienced in advanced estate planning, which is vital for business owners.
Read more about when to consult your business attorney from our Lake in the Hills business attorneys.